Fantastic fishing in Cuba
The Jardines de la Reina has become known as one of the most exciting fisheries in the Caribbean, especially because of the variety of fish you will see and catch on the flats.
This is some of the world’s best fly fishing for bonefish, tarpon and permit, but add to these mutton snapper, barracuda, jack crevalle, horse eye jack, snook, grouper and a variety of sharks and you have a marvelous variety of fish to catch each day.
Our live aboard yachts (The Halcon, Caballones and La Reina) offer a unique experience and the ability to travel around thearchipelago in search of the best fishing. If you like to fish hard, you can fish from dawn to dusk, fish the best flats and and be only minutes from the yacht at the end of your day. This incredible fishery continues to improve each year, mainly because much of the Jardines de la Reina has been a Cuban National Marine Park, with commercial fishing and netting eliminated many years ago. Native populations of game fish rebounded dramatically and today the numbers of fish on the reef and flats that border the reef system is staggering. This is one of the most pristine reef systems on earth and the health of the ecosystem in the Jardines de la Reina is unprecedented in the Caribbean.
This is some of the best flats fly-fishing in the world today. Bonefish are found in gigantic numbers and are easy to catch. While most are in the 2-4 lb. class, on some flats they average six to nine pounds! The average permit are in the 20-25 lb. class, and tarpon of all sizes are found but most are fish in the 20-50 lb. class with larger migrating fish of 100 pounds and more seen in good numbers in the spring and summer months. The number of Grand Slams constantly increases each year. Recently a four-angler group landed four Grand Slams, with one permit exceeding thirty pounds!
We not only fly fish the flats but also utilize spinning and trolling techniques along the reef to catch a wide variety of fish, many of which like the mutton snapper, grouper and yellowtail jacks make wonderful fresh table fare for our evening meals.
Hundreds of mangrove islands, both large and small make up the Jar dines de la Reina archipelago. Shallow water with good protection from the wind makes for easy running in our smaller fishing skiffs. You’ll marvel at the emerald green water and white sand beaches with deeper channels slicing through the mangroves allowing for massive tidal water flow between the ocean side and backcountry flats. Rare wildlife is abundant, including saltwater crocodiles, Jutea, Ridley turtles, green turtles, Ospreys, iguanas, lobster and live conch.
If you are a diver you can experience spectacular diving with a variety of large fish, including snappers, groupers, sharks and huge Goliath Grouper (Jewfish) that often grow to a length of 3 meters, weighing hundreds of pounds.
We look forward to hosting you soon on one of our live aboard yachts, The Halcon, Caballones, and the La Reina, or on our completely refurbished floating hotel, the Tortuga.
Accommodations in the area:
La Tortuga - The large double decker floating hotel
While you are our guest in Los Jardines de la Reina, accommodations are provided primarily on 3 large live-aboard boats or on our original 110-foot double deck houseboat, the Tortuga. The Tortuga functions as a floating hotel with seven guest cabins that accommodate two anglers each. The Tortuga is a massive, steel houseboat that is permanently secured in a small, protected channel of a big island, so that it never moves, regardless of bad weather or wind. It is extremely stable and level at all times so there is never any chance of guests getting seasick.
We refurbished the Tortuga again in 2008 to make it even more comfortable for our guests. The guest cabins on the upper level all have their own bathroom with sink and toilet and a good shower with plenty of hot water. Each cabin has its own easily adjustable air-conditioning system. On the lower level you will find our large air conditioned dining room along with both a foredeck and afterdeck, chairs and tables that are perfect for setting up your tackle, tying flies or relaxing after a day of fishing. We have plenty of rod racks as well as good facilities for washing and cleaning your tackle after a day of fishing. The foredeck is everyone’s favorite place to enjoy appetizers like pizza and your favorite beverage before dinner. A great spot to kick back, and relax, enjoy that perfect mohito, or smoke a great Cuban cigar while swapping tales of the day’s fishing.
Dining on board combines the flair of the best Continental Italian cuisine, wonderful fresh seafood every day and traditional Cuban favorites like rice and beans, black bean soup and fried bananas. Beverages available on board include bottled water, Mineral and Tonic water, various soft drinks, beer, rum and excellent wines. If you prefer liquor other than rum, you can bring this with you and our bartender will have whatever mixers you need.
Electricity on board is supplied by generators located on a small island nearby and is available twenty-four hours a day. We have many outlets on board that provide both 110 and 220V. We have a satellite Wireless connection making communication with the outside world easy and free for our guests. You can use your laptop in our dining room at any time or in the cabins using our Avalon Hot Spot network as long as you have wireless capability with your laptop or other device.
The Halcon is our recently refurbished luxury yacht with a storied past. Seventy-Five feet in length, it is powered with two GM 450 hp diesel engines. Below decks you will find six cabins, and three bathrooms. It is perfect for groups of eight to ten anglers. The ability of the Halcon to travel allows anglers to fish the more remote parts of the Jardines de la Reina, and explore flats where the fish have rarely seen anglers and are easier to catch. But best of all is that anglers on the Halcon get in a lot more quality fishing time each day. You are minutes away from many of the very best flats so there is far less running time in the skiffs and more fishing time for everyone. Since you are fishing flats that are often ten minutes from were the Halcon is anchored this makes it very pleasant to come back to eat a wonderful lunch aboard and then even catch a little nap before heading back to the flats. Since the run back to the Halcon in the evening is short, it allows anglers to fish very late, almost until dark. Since it is often calm late in the day, it is always easy to find and catch some very large bonefish that become a lot easier to fool once the sun starts to go down.
All of the Halcon cabins have excellent A/C, comfortable beds and a surprising amount of storage space for your clothing and gear. Good showers with plenty of hot water make things comfortable at the end of a long fishing day. On the main deck is a large salon, which is fully air-conditioned with comfortable couches making it the perfect place to relax with a cocktail, before dinner. The salon is equipped with a TV, DVD and a good sound system that allows people to either watch movies or for anglers to hook up their video cameras and have fun watching the exciting fishing videos shot by their friends earlier that day.
The Captain on the Halcon has many good protected spots in the island system that make for a perfect anchorage yet are close to some of the very best fishing flats. Cache Boca is one of the best, about twenty miles or so East of the Tortuga. Here we position the Halcon in the well-protected back bay of a large channel. In selected spots like this it is easy to keep the yacht far enough from mangrove islands to eliminate any bug problems, and in a spot where there is little more than a chop on the water even with hard wind. We try to maximize angler comfort and eliminate any problems with seasickness. The gentle rocking and rolling you experience will lull you to sleep at the end of a long day.
Meals are usually served on the afterdeck where there is normally a nice breeze. In inclement weather the afterdeck is easily and quickly enclosed with heavy roll down clear plastic windows. In more severe weather the air conditioned salon is utilized for our dining room.
Chefs on the Halcon have always been excellent. The day starts out with a hearty breakfast. Lunch is just right- with delicious lobster and pasta salads along with sandwiches of your choice. Dinners are primarily seafood- fresh fish every day provided by the crew, either fishing or by free diving. Lobster and conch are specialties that you can enjoy and served in a variety of ways. For those that would like something different, chicken and pork are also available. Salads and a variety of fruits are served every day. Desserts feature our famous Cub flan, or rum cake topped off with some aged Havana Club rum. Our fishing guides stay on board the Halcon with the skiffs tied alongside in calmer weather or parked in more protected channels in windy or inclement weather.
For Divers the Halcon is the perfect craft, having the ability to travel around the island system at will in order to offer a huge variety of dive sites during the week. Availability and access to the very best dives in the Jardines de la Reina and the unlimited range of the Halcon is the key to its popularity as a dive boat. Your diving guides live aboard the Halcon along with the guests. The ideal group of divers is 10, with 2 diving guides, but the Halcon can accommodate maximum 12 guests.
La Reina is a comfortable yacht, fully refurbished at the end of the 2005 season. It is sixty-nine feet in length, fully air conditioned, with 4 double rooms and 4 bathrooms. The large upper deck, where meals are usually served, makes a fine place to relax before diner with a cocktail or a good Cuban Cigar. We installed a new water maker that allows us an unlimited amount of fresh water each day. The showers now have plenty of hot water to make the accommodations as comfortable as possible for our guests.
The chef on La Reina, as on our other yachts, goes all out to provide delicious fare for our guests. Dinners are seafood oriented with fresh mutton snapper and grouper being readily available. Other traditional Cuban entrees like chicken and pork are also part of the regular weekly menu. It is very easy to prepare vegetarian meals on request and the chef serves a variety of salads and fruits each day. Everyone looks forward to the desserts like our famous Cuban flan, and delicious rum cake.
The guides live aboard the La Reina along with the guests, giving us the flexibility to travel around this huge island system in order to find the absolute best fishing. This is one of the keys to the popularity of booking one of our yachts like the La Reina for your week. The ideal group of anglers is four, with two guides and two flats skiffs available at all times. For those guests that are keen to try all kinds of fishing techniques, from fly fishing to spin fishing, trolling along the reef, or bottom fishing for snapper and grouper, the La Reina is a superb choice and is the ideal setting for a smaller groups of anglers.
The Caballones is another one of our superb yachts for both anglers and divers. Fully refurbished at the end of 2006, the Caballones is seventy-five feet in length. All rooms are fully air conditioned, with 4 double rooms (one is a queen bed for a couple) and 4 bathrooms. Showers, with plenty of hot water, make things comfortable thanks to the recently installed water maker. The Caballones has a large upper deck where meals are usually served.The Caballones chef is famous for his cuisine and there is always an abundance of delicious food served for each meal. Dinners are primarily seafood- fresh fish is served daily, including some of the best tasting fish in the Caribbean. Grouper, mutton snapper and yellowtail jack are plentiful. For those that would like something different, chicken and pork are always available and often served as an additional entrée. Vegetarian meals are easily prepared on request. Salads and a variety of fruit are served daily. The desserts, like our famous Cuban flan, and rum cake, are delicious and always eagerly anticipated.
The guides stay on aboard the Caballones during the week, in the crew quarters, near the bow of the boat. This ensures the privacy and comfort of our guests on board, while ensuring as flexible a fishing schedule as possible. By having the guides and skiffs travel with the Caballones, this gives us the ability to cruise around the huge islands system in order to find the best fishing. This is the key to the popularity of the Caballones and our other live-aboard yachts. The yacht is ideal for a group of 6 to 8 anglers, with three to four guides and their skiffs, available at all times.
The Caballones is one of our superb yachts located in the pristine Jardines de la Reina eco system. The yacht is ideally suited for those guests who want to try all kind of fishing techniques, from fly fishing to spin fishing, trolling along the reef and bottom fishing.
In Jardines de la Reina the fishing hours are totally at the discretion of the clients. Regular fishing day usually begins with breakfast at 7:00am, and your guides will be ready to depart for fishing from 7:45 am on. Most of the flats you will fish are within fifteen minutes of the yacht, and it is always nice to take a lunch break in the comfort and shade, back on board the boat. Relaxing for an hour or so before fishing the long afternoons, especially during the warm summer season, is always a good idea. Lunches on board are particularly good, while we are more limited in fare when making up box lunches for a full day on the water. Many of the more remote flats can produce outstanding fishing and your guides will suggest the evening before that you pack a lunch and stay out all day in order to access some of the more distant flats and estuaries. Clients can fish late into the evening if they like, since it is usually only a short run to get back to the yachts. In Jardines, the morning winds often calm down in the afternoons, and fishing in the late afternoon can be superb, especially for bonefish. There is never a daily gasoline limitation for our guides, so you can run longer distances to fish remote flats, especially on those days when you opt to stay out all day.
Fishing weeks on board the yachts run from Saturday to the following Friday. Our season in the Jardines de la Reina is from mid-October to end of August. A normal week includes five full days of fishing and one to two half days depending on your schedule and mode of transportation to Jucaro. Clients board the yachts, Sol or Mares, for the trip to the Jardines de la Reina, where they will then board the Caballones.
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